Acne and PCOS: Nine Tips for Clear Skin

If you have been suffering from acne since you were a teenager, the problem is probably more than skin deep.   Acne is a common symptom of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as PCOS.

Acne can be devastating for our self-image and sometimes makes us feel embarrassed to leave the house at all or certainly without makeup to cover it up. It can have additional serious emotional consequences such as frustration, depression, and social withdrawal. Topical creams often have harsh side effects that may help in the short term but leave us frustrated over and over again with recurring bouts of acne. Whether you are a lifetime acne sufferer or are just experiencing it for the first time, know that there is hope and it is possible to achieve a clear and smooth complexion.

What causes acne?

The areas of your face that are especially affected with acne with PCOS are the lower half of the face such as the cheeks, jawline, chin, and upper neck.     Inflammation and hormone imbalance are the big causes but there is also a bacteria called Propionibacterium that can cause an immune response resulting in acne. Here is a short list of causes:

  • Insulin resistance (too much sugar in diet) — this can cause higher-than-normal male androgen levels
  • Stress
  • Heredity
  • Bacteria along with inflammation in the body
  • Too much inflammation in general


Natural Ways to Treat PCOS-Related Acne — On the Inside

Clear up your acne by changing the food you eat. Food is powerful medicine for healing and chances are that the problem is more about what goes into your body than what you put on your skin.   Reducing inflammation is key. Be patient and give it some time, at least 3 months, to see some lasting change.

  1. Adopt a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and grains such as barley, spelt, oats (the non-gluten free oats), and rye. A PubMed study shows that taking gluten out of the diet reduces inflammation and insulin resistance, the two biggest causes of acne. Does it seem impossible to remove gluten and wheat from your diet? We women love our bread, but it is possible to make substitutions that are both delicious and healthy for women with PCOS.
  1. Remove sugar and high glycemic carbohyrates (carbs) from your diet. Sugar is another dietary culprit responsible for causing acne due to its effect on blood sugar and a rise in male hormones. Studies show that diets high in sugar and high glycemic carbs, such as pasta, bread, cereal, sodas, no fat yogurt with sugar, fruit juice and even fruit, caused an increase in acne.   If you have PCOS, studies have shown that when you eliminate sugar and reduce your intake of high glycemic carbs, your acne will start to improve.
  1. Switch out the dairy products. Dairy causes your body to increase the production of male hormones like testosterone and other androgens. It also is known to increase insulin. Every glass of milk contains the same kind of anabolic hormones that athletes use to grow their muscles. Do not be fooled with labels that say “hormone free” milk, because even organic and raw milk contain at least 60 hormones.   In controlled trials, researchers discovered that drinking cow’s milk caused an increase in the severity of acne.
  1. Take probiotics to help reduce inflammation. Probiotics are fabulous for helping with hormone balance, because they restore healthy gut bacteria and help to restore digestive health — the starting point for improved overall health.

Natural Ways to Treat PCOS-Related Acne — On the Outside

  1. The botanical willow bark is a great alternative to salicylic acid, a standard ingredient in many topical acne medications. It works in the same way to exfoliate the skin, but without causing irritation and dryness. Try using a cleanser or a serum with willow bark as an ingredient.
  1. Apply green tea to your skin. Not only can you drink green tea to reap its benefits, but it can also be applied topically. By putting it on your skin, you are reducing oil production and protecting your skin from acne causing bacteria. Here’s how it works: Add two tablespoons of green tea leaves (or one tea bag) in a cup of boiling water and steep for 10 minutes, then once it cools use as a rinse.   Plus, drinking green tea is effective at lowering inflammation.
  1. Australian tea tree oil is extremely effective for the treatment of PCOS-related acne. It is as effective as benzoyl peroxide, but without all of the harsh side effects such as dryness, redness, and irritation. Tea tree oil is an essential oil and will not clog your pores like fatty oils.   This can be applied directly to the affected areas using a clean cotton ball or Q-Tip.
  1. Make a clay mask. Moroccan Rhassoul Clay is wonderful to use instead of retinol because it is much gentler on the skin.   It can help draw out blackheads and other impurities from the skin which also makes it beneficial as a makeup remover or face wash. Rhassoul Clay is higher in minerals like magnesium, silica and potassium, leaving smooth skin. This mask is simple and easy to make at home.   Start by mixing a teaspoon of Moroccan Rhassoul clay with warm water.   Then, if your skin is oily, add in 1/4 teaspoon green tea leaves to the clay. If you have PCOS and experience redness and inflamed skin, mix in 1/4 teaspoon chamomile tea leaves.   Brush or rub on the face and let dry before washing off. You can use either of these mask combinations daily. It’s a completely natural part of your PCOS acne skin regimen.
  1. Nutrients are also effective at healing acne. Supplementing your diet with extra much-needed nutrients is important because not having enough nutrients can cause hormone imbalance. Nutrients that help with improving insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar and balancing hormones are essential for reducing symptoms like acne. Chromium, cinnamon, vanadium, magnesium, Chaste Tree Berry, saw palmetto, lipoic acid and so much more can help reduce inflammation and balance hormones. Our supplements here contain all of these essential nutrients

Your hormones and your diet play a large role in the appearance of your skin, which is the largest organ in your body.   If PCOS-related adult acne has been plaguing you for years don’t despair because a blemish-free complexion is possible for you. These tips will leave you looking better and feeling more confident in your own skin.


Next Steps

Becoming victorious over the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is not an easy task, but you can overcome your symptoms to live the life you deserve.

It takes strength, courage, and perseverance. It can be challenging and that’s why Insulite Health created the PCOS 5-Element System. It’s a step-by-step process that will help you balance your hormones and reverse PCOS symptoms using our proprietary 5% Solution.

So take the next steps now! Use the links below to learn how to make the changes that will transform your health and your life forever.

  1. Read more about PCOS
  2. Take the PCOS Test and assess your risk!
  3. Learn more about the Insulite 5-Element PCOS Solution

About Insulite Health

Insulite Health, is committed to helping women reverse their symptoms of hormone imbalance. Scientific research has revealed that this imbalance can be a primary cause of many devastating health symptoms. Hormone Imbalance can also underlie the increased risk factors for PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) – a major source of serious diseases as well as cause of excess weight gain, adult acne, unwanted facial hair, depression, anxiety, and heartbreaking female infertility.

©Insulite Health, Inc., empowers women with PCOS to transform their lives through a process of healing with the 5-Element PCOS System — the world’s only complete solution for helping women heal from the symptoms of PCOS and hormone imbalance.

Robin Nielsen

Chief Wellness Officer at Insulite Health, LLC
Robin is an Integrative Clinical Nutritionist, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition. She comes to Insulite Health with a passion for helping women live vibrant, passionate lives. Robin had her own struggles with health. As a teenager she suffered from digestive disorders, weight, acne and hypoglycemia. As an adult she continued to struggle with balancing blood sugar, adult acne, mood swings, weight gain, arthritic conditions in her hands and chronic inflammation. Robin understands first hand how symptoms of poor health can keep us from living the life we dreamed of.

Latest posts by Robin Nielsen (see all)


Robin is an Integrative Clinical Nutritionist, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition. She comes to Insulite Health with a passion for helping women live vibrant, passionate lives. Robin had her own struggles with health. As a teenager she suffered from digestive disorders, weight, acne and hypoglycemia. As an adult she continued to struggle with balancing blood sugar, adult acne, mood swings, weight gain, arthritic conditions in her hands and chronic inflammation. Robin understands first hand how symptoms of poor health can keep us from living the life we dreamed of.


  1. Mimi Reply

    Nice article. Always like to read pcos articles for tips. I tried to keep control of my diet but my skin getting worse due to threading every two /three days. Dark pigmentation around mouth and chin. Unfortunately i can’t afford laser treatments right now. Also my hair are thinner and weak since mid puberty. Also started having some grey hair from both side ; I’m 21 . I regularly take vitamin such as b complex,folic acid and sometimes irons since I have an allergy for using birth control “yasmine”; my skin became dry around my mouth and my eye dry darker coating which eventually had swollen. Fortunately It was treated by prescription ointment “Frakidex” ;which I still use since my eyes sometimes still feel dry and the side of my nose feel itched get dark patches if ointment. I also like to add that the eye creams seem to not work since I had those sides effects for vitamin and birth control pills.
    Which would better to halted the growth of facial hairs saw palmetto or spearmint? I’m sorry if anyone having trouble understanding my comment. Not a English speaker. Thank you.

    1. Robin Nielsen Post author

      Hello Mimi,
      We are so glad you have found this information helpful. Keep in mind all the symptoms of PCOS are related. What do you do to balance your hormones? Ultimately, this is the root cause of the hirsutism. Here is more information on this: Have you tired natural oils and essential oils for your skincare? Here is a great resource for attaining healthy skin naturally: We are here to support you.

  2. Brit Reply

    Thank you so much for this blog.
    I was recently diagnosed with PCOS and have numerous symptoms. One of which is acne, even though I changed by diet. I am currently taking birth control and spironolactone. I also started using my d-i-y toner (greentea and apple cider vingear) and tea tree oil and I have noticed a difference. I will also take into consideration all that you recommended.

  3. Muzhgan Siddiqi Reply

    Hi!I am really tired of acne,I tried benzoyl peroxide and changed my lifestyle but still suffering it.large cysts and also pores in my face.please,any suggestion and tell me how long it will take to work.spironolactone has worked for me but taking too much drug is not good for our health that is why I stopped using it.

    1. Danielle White

      Acne of any kind is difficult to treat. Recently, at HealthStatus, we have had people tell us that rubbing CBD oil on their face once daily (or twice daily if necessary, beware of over drying skin) has made a huge improvement in skin breakouts and overall pore reduction.

  4. Payal raj Reply

    Hi I’m payal I’m 21 this year and I have pcod my main symptom is facial hair and there are alot of them on my face I discovered really late about my pcod so can you tell me about what kind of skin care routine should I follow as I’ ve hiper pigmintation which makes my skin more dark and hair all over my face and body so please help and suggest somthing natural.
    thankyou ! in advance for your help..

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